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On-ramping to Academia: Women's Experiences of Transitioning from Nonacademic to Academic Careers

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Conference

2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015

ISBN

978-0-692-50180-1

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division: Faculty and Gender Issues

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

7

Page Numbers

26.1200.1 - 26.1200.7

DOI

10.18260/p.24537

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/24537

Download Count

209

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Paper Authors

biography

Coleen Carrigan Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

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Professor Coleen Carrigan is a feminist anthropologist and an Assistant Professor of Gender, Race, Culture, Science and Technology Studies at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She investigates the historical and cultural dimensions of underrepresented groups' participation in science, technology and engineering and the reasons why white males still dominate these fields.

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biography

Eve A. Riskin University of Washington

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Eve Riskin received her BS degree in Electrical Engineering from
M.I.T. and her graduate degrees in EE from Stanford. Since 1990, she
has been in the EE Department at the University of Washington where
she is now Associate Dean of Diversity and Access in the College of
Engineering, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Director of the
ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change. With ADVANCE, she works on
mentoring and leadership development programs for women faculty in
SEM. Her research interests include image compression and image
processing, with a focus on developing video compression algorithms to
allow for cell-phone transmission of American Sign Language. She was
awarded a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, a
Sloan Research Fellowship, the 2006 WEPAN University Change Agent
award, the 2006 Hewlett-Packard Harriett B. Rigas Award, and the 2007
University of Washington David B. Thorud Leadership Award.
She is a Fellow of the IEEE.

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Kathleen O'Leary University of Washington

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Katie O’Leary is a PhD student at the University of Washington Information School. She has worked with Dr. Eve Riskin as part of the ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change to understand the experiences of underrepresented minorities in STEM. Her dissertation work focuses on the perspectives, goals, and values of people seeking support for mental wellness. A major focus of her research is developing a method that can facilitate making design tradeoffs to support personal values. In addition to working with Dr. Wanda Pratt’s iMed group, Katie works with Jacob Wobbrock as part of his Mobile Accessible Design Lab.

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Joyce Yen University of Washington

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Dr. Joyce W. Yen is the Program/Research Manager for the University of Washingtonʼs ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change (UW ADVANCE). In this role, she provides faculty professional development on a campus and national scale and does a variety of work to advance diversity in science and engineering at the faculty level. Her diversity and faculty work has received over $4.5 million in grant funding. Dr. Yen was previously an assistant professor in Industrial Engineering at the University of Washington, Seattle. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She received her B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, graduating from the Honors Program and summa cum laude.

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Priti N. Mody-Pan University of Washington

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Priti N. Mody-Pan is the Deputy Director and Director of Evaluation at the Center for Workforce Development. She leads program evaluations, develops proposals and new contracts, and conducts research on diversity in science and engineering. Ms. Mody-Pan received her Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS) degrees from the University of Washington and her BA in Political Science and East Asian Studies at Washington University in St. Louis.

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Matthew O'Donnell University of Washington

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Frank and Julie Jungers Dean Emeritus and a Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington.

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Abstract

On-Ramping to Academia: Women's Experiences of Transitioning fromNonacademic to Academic CareersRecruiting female faculty from other universities to increase women's participation in scienceand engineering departments fails to increase the number of female faculty nationally. We offer anew approach to faculty recruitment. We coined the term "on-ramping" to describe how womenwith PhDs in science and engineering can leverage their nonacademic skills and experiences intocareers as faculty members.We used ethnographic methods to collect and analyze semi-structured interviews about theexperiences of ten female PhDs in science and engineering who successfully transitioned to afaculty position from industry. Our data revealed three core barriers that can influence theviability of transitioning to academia, particularly for women. These were the challenges ofcommunicating the value of nonacademic career skills in the academic context; the financialcosts of the transition; and gender discrimination.We found that the major reward sought by these faculty members was the ability to leveragetheir nonacademic career skills to effect change in the academic context. Our data suggest that“on-ramping” can create a new pool of highly qualified candidates to help diversify the faculty inscience and engineering. Our findings have implications for alternative hiring and recruitmentpractices in higher education.

Carrigan, C., & Riskin, E. A., & O'Leary, K., & Yen, J., & Mody-Pan, P. N., & O'Donnell, M. (2015, June), On-ramping to Academia: Women's Experiences of Transitioning from Nonacademic to Academic Careers Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24537

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